This book was Snyder’s first collection of poetry after Turtle Island, for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1974. The poems in Axe Handles reveal the roots of community in the family, and also explore the transmission of cultural values and knowledge. Above all, these are poems about language–that is, language as the preeminent manifestation of culture. In the title poem, we read: “I am an axe / And my son a handle, soon / To be shaping again, model / And tool, craft of culture, / How we go on.”
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"Axe Handles presents poems that reflect a fine balance between physical reality and inner insight..." —Los Angeles Times
GARY SNYDER has published sixteen books of poetry and prose. His book Turtle Island won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1975. He has won numerous other awards, including the Bollingen Poetry Prize and the Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Times. Since 1970 he has lived with his family in Northern California in the watershed of the South Yuba River in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.
“Axe Handles presents poems that reflect a fine balance between physical reality and inner insight. Snyder emphasizes natural cycles, sees the oneness of things rather than their separateness, observes directly without pretense or arrogance… His sense of the history of land and cultures and his ability to write as both the Worker and the Thinker create a fertile whole.” —Los Angeles Times